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Oil Rich Azerbaijan to Develop Crypto and Blockchain Technologies

Azerbaijan is to host the first large-scale Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference in Baku, dedicated to blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and ICOs.

The conference, to be held on 27 September, will include some of the major players in the cryptocurrency industry, including market, developers, entrepreneurs, representatives of payment systems and foreign experts.

The Eurasian country, once part of the Russian Federation, rich in natural resources, is slowly coming around to discussing cryptocurrency and the role it may play in the country’s developing economy, after taking a guarded and reluctance stance to date. This represents a change in tone as in December of 2017 the chairman of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan, Elman Rustamov, called for comprehensive regulations stating that cryptocurrencies. He maintained that they “…are not recognized as a legitimate means of payment”, maintaining that they “continue to be a dangerous instrument for investing”.

Just a few months on, the Centre for the Study and Development of the Market for Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technologies is now in operation and is providing consultancy services and training. The center also wants to attract blockchain experts to the country to support financial intuitions in developing more understanding of the kinds of benefits that can be gained through active involvement in crypto space.

As part of taking regulatory steps in the new proactive climate emerging in Azerbaijan, the ministry for taxes has announced that all cryptocurrency deals will be classed as taxable, partly as part of the government’s move to bring some legal status to cryptocurrency. Nidjat Imanov, deputy-director of the Department of Tax Policy and Strategic Studies at the Ministry of Taxes announced in May:

“Incomes from operations with cryptocurrencies will be taxed. Formally, this means – corporate profit tax for legal entities and personal income tax for individuals… If someone bought cryptocurrency and then sold it at a higher price, that amount must be reported as income and subjected to taxation.”

Along with revenues from oil and gas, the government is clearly seeing the profitability in allowing cryptocurrency to flourish increasing budget revenues even further through taxation. Elnur Guliyev, founder and CEO of Crypto Consulting, talks of rapid crypto growth in the second half of 2017 and has observed local markets moving again after a slow start to the year.

Guliyev’s advice to Azerbaijani investors is, buy Bitcoin and hold till its value increases before selling, but adds, “This option still works but it’s hard to say for how long.”


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